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Witold M. Orlowski

This paper highlights that 10 new members joined the European Union on May 1, 2004, in the biggest enlargement of the community since its inception. However, the core economic concern is the weak growth performance of Europe—and particularly of the 12 countries at the epicenter of European integration that use the euro as their common currency—relative to the rest of the world and especially the United States. The paper highlights that underlying this concern are the problems of sagging long-term trends in the growth of productivity, and the use of labor resources.

International Monetary Fund
This report evaluates the Observance of Standards and Codes on Fiscal Transparency Module for the Republic of Slovenia. Slovenia meets the requirements of the fiscal transparency code in many important respects. The basic legislation and practices are in line with many Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and European Union countries, and there is generally a clear specification of the roles and responsibilities of different institutions. The basic policies for provision of information are consistent with international practices and procedures for budget preparation.
Uwe Böwer
State-owned enterprises (SOEs) play an important role in Emerging Europe’s economies, notably in the energy and transport sectors. Based on a new firm-level dataset, this paper reviews the SOE landscape, assesses SOE performance across countries and vis-à-vis private firms, and evaluates recent SOE governance reform experience in 11 Emerging European countries, as well as Sweden as a benchmark. Profitability and efficiency of resource allocation of SOEs lag those of private firms in most sectors, with substantial cross-country variation. Poor SOE performance raises three main risks: large and risky contingent liabilities could stretch public finances; sizeable state ownership of banks coupled with poor governance could threaten financial stability; and negative productivity spillovers could affect the economy at large. SOE governance frameworks are partly weak and should be strengthened along three lines: fleshing out a consistent ownership policy; giving teeth to financial oversight; and making SOE boards more professional.